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Spirited Kids Support Group
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#1 VintageEyes

Posted 09 August 2011 - 02:24 PM

Anyone interested in starting a support group thread for parents of spirited children?

There are a few different authors (Spirited Children Definition) that identify similar traits, but one definition is:


The "Spirited Child" main characteristics are:

INTENSITY (loud and dramatic-focused outward, quiet and intently observant - focused inward),

PERSISTENCE ("lock in" to important ideas, love to debate, goal oriented),

SENSITIVITY (easily overstimulated by their environment, low sensory thresholds to any of the five senses),

PERCEPTIVENESS (easily distracted, notice everything going on all the time),

ADAPTIBILITY (don't transition/shift from one activity to another easily), with

REGULARITY  natural schedules for eating or sleeping),

ENERGY (physically active, busy exploring all the time),

FIRST REACTION (quick withdrawl when first encountering anything new), and

MOOD (as in moody) as "bonus" characteristics.

In other words, spirited children are "more" of each characteristic.

ETA spelling.

Edited by VintageEyes, 11 August 2011 - 09:41 AM.


#2 VintageEyes

Posted 10 August 2011 - 01:10 PM

No one? Surely I am not the only one with a spirited child? Or am I posting this in the wrong section?

#3 gabbigirl

Posted 10 August 2011 - 02:54 PM

There used to to be a group like this, from memory.  

I'll join, as whilst my 3yo DD might not technically be spirited she is certainly full on and has some behaviours that fit the category.  I'm still working her out.

#4 VintageEyes

Posted 10 August 2011 - 04:29 PM

Welcome to my small club gabbigirl!

I did have a look around, and I did a search as well, but I couldn't  find any similar threads on here. If anyone knows of a similar thread  could you let me know?

In the book "Raising your Spirited Child", Mary Sheedy Kurcinka identifies children as having either a "cool", "spunky" or "spirited" tempament. Sounds like your DD might be "spunky"!  "Spunky" children have some spirited characteristics, just not quite to the extent of "spirited" kids.

Some of the main characteristics that I think stand out about DS are:
  • The first comment I used to get from most people when DS was a baby was "oh he is so alert." I thought that was normal, until I meet other babies, some even as old as 12 months that just seemed like zombies to me in comparison!!
  • He is always on the go. From literally the seccond he is awake to the seccond he is asleep. He fights sleep to the very end.
  • He is very persistant. If there is something he wants, he will get it, and he often goes to very creative measures to work out how he can get it. "No" is not an option.
  • Instead of sitting and playing with toys, DS is always exploring his environment, investigating every little corner and nuance of everything. He can notice an open door from a mile away.
I thought I was going mad and must have been a bad parent until I read "Raising your Spirited Child" and "Living with the Active Alert child" and I realised that DS was different, not bad, and he just needs different parenting techniques.

#5 rue-cambon

Posted 10 August 2011 - 10:03 PM

yeah I'll join. there was another group here - they're probably too burnt out from running around after their 'spirited' kids to read this LOL

My DD is 3 1/2 yrs old. She is full on. I was told that girls are delicate & easy well...pfft.... i beg to differ. She fights sleep all the time. she loves and I mean LOVES running around. Chasy is her favorite game. At kinder she'll play more with the boys bc their full on running, jumping etc than the girls who are sitting politely, quietly playing tea parties.

She has is the freaking fussiest eater (she'll starve & eat dirt before she'll touch fruit or vegies sad.gif )

and by does she have a feisty attitude. I feel sorry for her future hubby!!

#6 Krill

Posted 10 August 2011 - 10:21 PM

I used to be part of the other group....though my 8yo has since been diagnosed with ODD, poor working memory, phonetic coding failure and dyslexia.

Boy number three is spirted as well though!

#7 Lyn86

Posted 10 August 2011 - 10:25 PM

Just letting you know your thread title says- sprited kids not spirited original.gif

#8 VintageEyes

Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:00 AM

Welcome Krill and rue-cambon!

It looks like we are going to have one of those days, when every little thing sets DS off. Trip over a little bit, have a tantrum. Toy not doing what you want, have a tantrum. Mum needs to go to the loo, have a tantrum.

QUOTE (rue-cambon @ 10/08/2011, 09:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
yeah I'll join. there was another group here - they're probably too burnt out from running around after their 'spirited' kids to read this LOL

lol!

QUOTE
My DD is 3 1/2 yrs old. She is full on. I was  told that girls are delicate & easy well...pfft.... i beg to differ.  She fights sleep all the time. she loves and I mean LOVES running  around. Chasy is her favorite game. At kinder she'll play more with the  boys bc their full on running, jumping etc than the girls who are  sitting politely, quietly playing tea parties.

Yeah, in one way it is easier for us parents of boys because they are expected to be, well, boystrous.

QUOTE (Lyn86 @ 10/08/2011, 09:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just letting you know your thread title says- sprited kids not spirited original.gif

Thanks - have fixed it now! Will blame it on 2 weeks of very little sleep due to teething and sickness!

#9 Spa Gonk

Posted 11 August 2011 - 03:42 PM

I used to post in the other thread too.  It used to be in this section, but I don't think it has been active for a good 6 months.

For the moment, I don't feel the need to join the new group, but that might change!  I have been working really hard with my almost 5yo DD and things are a lot easier for us now.  She is still very busy, into everything and a challenge to parent, but I feel like I have the tools to deal with her now.  And after using the 1,2,3 method for over 2 years now, she has finally got the hang of it and will do most things by 3.  Also took 18 months of bedtime hell being totally consistent for her to get that too, so it takes her a while!

Best news is that she has started school and whilst there are parts of her behaviour that her teacher said could improve, they are not concerned about her behaviour.  And she is actually doing well academically and top of her class, so I think her being very knowledgable also feeds her attention seeking behaviour and she has the skills to know how to get round things.  

Anyway, as I said things might change but we are managing well at the moment  original.gif

#10 VintageEyes

Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:22 PM

Glad to hear that things are going well for you chatem! Any tips or hints are always welcome!

#11 JamJah

Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

BUMP!! And join in if anyone is still needing to??

#12 elliebear

Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:47 PM

Pick me! Pick me!!

DD8 is definitely a spirited child- very emotional, alert, hard to get to sleep, now her behaviour is causing problems at school eg distracting others, social issues, not working to her potential sad.gif

#13 VintageEyes

Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:53 PM

Hi JamJah!

Unfortunately this thread never really took off..maybe I am just really bad at hosting a thread?!

But I am happy for you to PM me if you wanted to chat! DS is now 2 and does seem to have settled down a lot or it could just be that I am more used to him now. Or perhaps now the others in my Mum's group hsve hit the toddler years his behaviour doesn't stand out as much?

#14 Guest_Retro_Mumma_*

Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

Im in.

My DS is beautiful and sometimes can be a little gentleman but generally the only way to describe him is Full.On.All.Day

He doesnt walk - he runs.

He rips skirting boards from the wall and those metal thingys that you have between the door frame off the ground.

He has broken several child proofing locks - not opened them - broken them.

You cant turn your back on him for a second he is into everything and does a runner any chance he gets.

#15 hoohoobump

Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:03 PM

Me too.

I have read 'Raising your spirited child' after an EB recommendation. I have learned lots of strategies and am finding the toddler stage busy, but fabulous.

DS is another who is on the go from the minute his eyes open until he goes to sleep. He also runs, and runs and runs. Since he learned to roll at 4 months or so, he was off. He eats constantly!!! He is also intense, determined and VERY tactile and in your face. E.g. hugs, cuddles, physical settling works really well. That said he is also very aware of others emotions and empathetic.

It took time to work out the 'slow to adapt' thing e.g. Changing daycare teachers at the start of the year was very traumatic.

I think he's fab, but his personality certainly was a shock to introverted me.

#16 Guest_holy_j_*

Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:20 PM

I usually refer to my kids as Feral but Spirited sounds so much nicer (not insinuating anything about anyone's kids but my own by the way)

I have 2 full on boys and one girl who is moderately full on- I think a lot of her behaviour is learnt.

See if any of this sounds familiar.
#1- 8.5 years old currently. Was crusing around the house in his walker from 3.5 months old, was crawling at 6, walking at 9 months old. He was climbing on stuff before he could even walk, i have pictures of him perched on top of cupboards, TV units, counters. Was walking 1.5km regularly with me from 11 months old. Turned your back he was already half way up the road the minute he learned to walk. Climbed out of the cot at 6 months old.

Everything is something to be climbed for him STILL. Normal kids play on the swingset, he's perched on top of it. Fences are tightropes, poles are climbing ropes. Ledges in the houses are to be swung off. Doorways are to be shimmied up. Walls are for doing handstands. Overhead cupboards are footholds for doing flips off.

At 2, i put him in his room for time out. A few minutes later, i heard a knock on the door. My  2 year old had decided to climb out the window - house wasn't a 2 story one, but it was raised on stumps so it was enough of a distance for a 2 year old to be jumping off. One other time, at 2 as well, he decided he wanted to play a trick on me, and climbed up on top of the clotheslines to hide from me- literally on top of the centre bit. I had DD as a baby then, I knew he'd gone outside, and a minute or 2 later i put DD down to go look for him, i could not find him anywhere. Never occurred to me, to look up. I freaked out, big time, searched everywhere, then again, then rang DP at work crying and said I've lost DS, you need to come home right now (he worked close). A few minutes later, I heard laughter coming from above - there he was. I could have strangled him, little sh*t!!

Dozens of stories like this. DD is similar, but it's learned, not instinctive.

DS2, is extremely similar. Same thing, everything is an obstacle to be climbed. He started crawling at 5 months, and walking just before 10. Not long after his first birthday, he figured out how to climb- and decided the neighbours yard was far more interesting than ours, so over their fence he went. I had a barely turnied 1 year old climbings fences. I guess i should ahve seen it coming as he climbed out of the cot, the minute he learned to pull himself up on furniture, little later than DS1, I can't remember exactly when now, so i won't give than an age, but it was before 10 months old when he learned to walk.  

They also have that horrible affliction of destroying things  mad.gif DS1 unscrewed the screw from a recliner chair, then promptly lost half of them. Among dozens of other things. DS1 and DS2 have major sleep problems, they have 2 speeds off and on. No in between speeds. DS2 was drawing at the desk the other night and fell asleep, pen still in hand, head upright.

I'd be here all time with all their antics, also the fidgeting does my head in sometimes! DS1 cannot sit still, right now he's in front of the disney channel, i can hear creaks, bangs, and tics coming from the room.

People say, that's nothing, my kid was doing that at _____age, you should be fine to handle it, but you really don't know how full on they are, unless you have the same sort of kids.

Edited by holy_j, 13 April 2012 - 05:22 PM.


#17 Guest_Dinah_Harris_*

Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

I have a spirited 3 year old DD.
She runs everywhere and needs constant mental stimulation.
She is extremely empathetic and sensitive.  She gets frustrated very easily and will have a tantrum about a button not going into the hole right.
She talks and talks and talks and TALKS!  not just in toddler speak, but she says things like: "Mum, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me what salt tastes like."
I say, "Salty."
Not good enough.  Cue half hour discussion about what makes salt tastes salty.
She memorises entire books.
She likes to play loud stomping, yelling games with boys.
By the end of the day, I am mentally exhausted.
I really can't wait until she goes to school!

#18 elliebear

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:02 PM

Dinah_Harris:-

I also could not wait until my daughter started school... then found it she thought it was boring and a waste of time. The bright kids start school way ahead of their peers and may not be catered to adequately in  the classroom.. leading to more frustration at home cry1.gif

#19 T2Mum

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (Dinah_Harris @ 13/04/2012, 05:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She runs everywhere and needs constant mental stimulation.
She is extremely empathetic and sensitive.  She gets frustrated very easily and will have a tantrum about a button not going into the hole right.
She talks and talks and talks and TALKS!  not just in toddler speak, but she says things like: "Mum, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me what salt tastes like."
I say, "Salty."
Not good enough.  Cue half hour discussion about what makes salt tastes salty.
She memorises entire books.


I have a 4.5 year old EXACTLY like this. Can I join the group please?

#20 CFMummy

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:46 PM

Ill join my DD2 is very spirited. She can climb the unclimbable like the big cots in hospital they have to have one with a roof now because she can.
I will add that she is the quiet acheiver type

#21 VintageEyes

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:57 PM

QUOTE (CFMummy @ 15/04/2012, 12:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I will add that she is the quiet acheiver type

Yep, my DS is an introvert as well. So it is really hard to convince people he is "spirited" because he is so quiet when we are out. Quiet, but still managing to get into trouble - e.g. he is always the one going off exploring around the side of the house, when no-one else's kids even look over there.

I can also relate to all the climbing stories & the child-safety product fails. We had corner protectors - they didn't last a day before DS peeled them off. He soon figured out how to open the drawers as well, despite the child latches by wiggling one drawer open and then the other. And of course, he was the only one who figured out how to open a friends  baby gate - in all of about 2 mins.

#22 ironbutterfly

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:08 PM

Crap one of my girls is exactly like this, the other one isn't quite so bad. DH doesn't know how to deal with her and he sees me as just giving into her, I've learnt to fight the important battles because it just becomes so exhausting otherwise. I guess I'll be adding a few more books to my bedside table.

#23 gabbigirl

Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:11 PM

HI, I;m back too.  we've had such a  good few weeks as we've been in Sydney at my parents place  and she was so well behaved and i was thinking to myself maybe we've turned the corner.  Well the universe heard it and thought to punish me.  Spunky DD3.5 was back with a  vengeance today!  I just can't figure it out.  is it because her schedule is too busy (she does dancing on Monday, child care on Tuesday, swimming on wednesday and thursday/friday is childcare.  We'll often have a party or playdate on the weekend.  

Now that I write it down even I am exhausted at what she is up to!  for some kids it would be fine.  But for her temperant I am thinking i'll wind down the playdates.  SHe can play with her sister and me at home. anyone else find that the schedule impacts their child's behaviour? WDYT about that schedule.  is that standard for most kids?



#24 VintageEyes

Posted 02 May 2012 - 09:51 PM

Gabigirl that does sound like an exhausting schedule. I find that a day out-day home schedule works best with my DS.
I read that spirited kids are "on their best behaviour" when out & it can be very draining for them mentally, especially due to all the stimulation.
You could also try play dates at your place rather than going out.

Welcome ironbutterfly! Definitely pick your battles. I always try and create a "yes" environment. I find "Choices" work as well. As in telling DS "you can choose to put your shoes on and go outside or you can choose to keep your shoes off and stay inside." Also giving them a lot of notice about what is happening. Eg "today we are going to do x" "5 more swings and then we are going inside"

#25 wca

Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:28 PM

I
QUOTE
have a spirited 3 year old DD.
She runs everywhere and needs constant mental stimulation.
She is extremely empathetic and sensitive. She gets frustrated very easily and will have a tantrum about a button not going into the hole right.
She talks and talks and talks and TALKS! not just in toddler speak, but she says things like: "Mum, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me what salt tastes like."
I say, "Salty."
Not good enough. Cue half hour discussion about what makes salt tastes salty.
She memorises entire books.
She likes to play loud stomping, yelling games with boys.
By the end of the day, I am mentally exhausted.
I really can't wait until she goes to school!


This is my DD, exactly! She has just turned 4 and has been 'spirited' since birth. My mum recently had her for a week (husband and I went on a holiday WHOOHOOO) and she admitted that DD pushed her to tears a few times, not because she is naughty as such, more that she just never ever stops and is SO tiring to be around.
She talks all day, it's like she has to narrate her day to me, to herself, to anyone. Constant TALKING and DISCUSSING. And while she is chatting, she is moving her body. She can not talk to me without hopping/twirling/flinging her legs/dancing/jumping etc. I literally have to grab her and say "Heidi...PLEASE, just be still for one second". Her behaviour has actually induced anxiety in me and my own mental health is suffering because of her. Which leads me to this question.....at what point do you get them 'checked'? After my mum had her, she urged me to talk to someone about her. I've always felt like I should, I don't know any othe rkids who are like her. On the flip side, she is amazingly compassionate, caring, empathetic and generous for a 4yr old, sh ehas a hear tof gold. She is just such a sensative, hyper little soul and I need help dealing with her.




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